Forthcoming

Subject, sovereign, Antigone: Judicial subjectivity and determination of the law

Authors

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.35295/osls.iisl.1900

Keywords:

Jacques Lacan, Psychoanalysis, Subjectivity, Judge, Illiberal legality, psicoanálisis, subjetividad, juez, legalidad iliberal

Abstract

In this paper I develop a theory of judicial subjectivity based on Lacan’s psychoanalysis. This theory is enriched with a theoretical confrontation with the abyssal laboratory of populist governance which has been created by the far-right majority in Poland since 2015. By adding this empirical context, I enquire how agency of judges is being created by the split legal system. The subjectivity of the judicial function implies speaking modestly in the name of the law, but at the same time involves being addressed by the demands of the Big Other. Yet at the same time the judge holds in her hands the jouissance of the law: it is the judge that can ultimately – with the effect of recognition within the Symbolic – acknowledge or refused validity of the law. It is in the judge’s subjectivity that the law can be recreated or can collapse. The peculiar link between the judge and her master is located in judicial conscience: the place where the subject’s structural emptiness corresponds to the lack within the law. As I argue in the paper, this role comes to the fore in case of split legal systems – such as the Polish one – which address judges with contradictory norms. In such moment the judge becomes ‘a judicial Antigone’ in Lacanian interpretation: a person on whose personal self-identification the legal system itself depends. Such a judicial Antigone – with empirical examples of Polish judges – is both the utmost hero and the utmost victim of the law.

En este artículo desarrollo una teoría de la subjetividad judicial basada en el psicoanálisis de Lacan. Dicha teoría se enriquece con una confrontación teórica con el laboratorio abisal de la gobernanza populista que ha creado la mayoría de extrema derecha en Polonia desde 2015. Añadiendo este contexto empírico, investigo cómo un sistema legal dividido está creando la agencia de los jueces. La subjetividad de la función judicial implica hablar modestamente en nombre de la ley, pero al mismo tiempo implica ser abordado por las demandas del Gran Otro. Sin embargo, al mismo tiempo, el juez tiene en sus manos el goce de la ley: es el juez el que puede, en última instancia -con el efecto del reconocimiento dentro de lo Simbólico–, reconocer o rechazar la validez de la ley. Es en la subjetividad del juez donde la ley puede recrearse o derrumbarse. El vínculo peculiar entre el juez y su amo se localiza en la conciencia judicial: el lugar donde el vacío estructural del sujeto se corresponde con la ausencia dentro de la ley. Como sostengo en el artículo, este papel pasa a un primer plano en el caso de los sistemas jurídicos divididos –como el polaco– que dirigen a los jueces normas contradictorias. En ese momento, el juez se convierte en “una Antígona judicial”, según la interpretación lacaniana: una persona de cuya autoidentificación personal depende el propio sistema jurídico. Tal Antígona judicial –con ejemplos empíricos de jueces polacos– es a la vez el máximo héroe y la máxima víctima de la ley.

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Author Biography

Przemyslaw Tacik, Jagiellonian University in Kraków/Nomos: Centre for International Research on Law, Culture and Power

Przemysław Tacik is Assistant Professor at the Institute of European Studies of the Jagiellonian University of Kraków, Poland, and Director of the Nomos: Centre for International Research on Law, Culture and Power. A philosopher, lawyer and sociologist by education, he holds PhDs in philosophy (2014) and international law (2016). He has been a visiting scholar at many universities and received international scholarships (including scholarships of the French government and of the DAAD). In his academic work he combines both philosophical and legal perspectives, attempting to approach them from an interdisciplinary angle. His main fields of interest are: in philosophy – contemporary philosophy, Jewish philosophy and animal studies; in law – critical legal studies, international law, human rights law. He has authored over 50 articles and five books. His most recent monographs are: A New Philosophy of Modernity and Sovereignty: Towards Radical Historicization (Bloomsbury 2021) and Deconstructing the Right to Self-Determination in International Law: Sovereignty, Exception, Politics (Brill 2023). Email address: przemyslaw.tacik@uj.edu.pl

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Published

26-02-2024

How to Cite

Tacik, P. (2024) “Subject, sovereign, Antigone: Judicial subjectivity and determination of the law”, Oñati Socio-Legal Series. doi: 10.35295/osls.iisl.1900.

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